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Often times I hear the argument that marriage is between a man and a woman, God made them male and female, (adam and eve not adam and steve ..etc). My question is for those who do not fit into the gender boxes we like people to fit into. In fact there are many variations of gender between the poles xmale, heterosexual, masculine and xfemale, heterosexual, feminine.

For the sake of specificness we will drop the heterosexual part and look a little closer at just the gender aspect.

What happens when a physical check shows one sex/gender and a chromosome test shows another? "it would seem a simple case of checking for XX vs. XY chromosomes to determine whether an athlete is a woman or a man, it is not that simple. Fetuses start out as female, and the Y chromosome turns on a variety of hormones that differentiate the baby as a male. Sometimes this does not occur, and XX people with two X chromosomes can develop hormonally as a male, and XY people with an X and a Y can develop hormonally as a female." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/sports/22runner.html?em

Stories like Santhi Soundaragjan, who after gender testing failed as a female and was stripped of her Olympic medal. Her condition was possibly "Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). This condition includes the existence of a 'Y' chromosome in phenotypic females (typically only associated with a male genotype) and results in an inability to respond to Androgens. This unresponsiveness leads to a female body without female internal sex organs. Although the body produces testosterone, it does not react to the hormone." from http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2009/06/11/2003445882 (The failed test even led to a suicide attempt)

There is more...amidst the many varying conditions that fall somewhere inbetween, there are those who are born with both genders, the hermaphrodite.

Where do these people fit into normal Christian male/female scenarios? Do they have room for them?

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The Genesis account only shows two people being created. The rest were "knitted in their mother's womb". It doesn't say that he knits them as male or female. However, Adam and Eve were male and female (exclusively). –  Richard Oct 4 '11 at 15:40
    
@Richard and the Psalms show us we all created as well: "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb." Psalm 139:13, "My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place" Psalm 139:15 –  Max Gontar May 11 '12 at 10:55

5 Answers 5

Where do these people fit into the Christian male/female scenarios?

First, " these people " are, as everyone, human beings.

Genesis 1;27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1;31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening were the sixth day.

Genesis 3;18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.

After the fall, man was no longer " very good " but tainted with sin.

While gender has its function, it is of no significance in salvation.

Galatians 3;28

There is neither Jew or Greek, neither bond or free, there is neither male nor female for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

For the record; Titus 2;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The "us" is inclusive of all human beings.

As for Christian male/female scenarios and do they have room for them?

There is only one scenario; Matthew 28;19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

I Timothy 4;10,12

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially, of those that believe. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

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The fact that the Bible is mostly silent concerning intersex does nothing to discredit the text nor its source.

It wasn't an issue in ancient times (which doesn't mean it never occurred) that warranted special attention. Modern statistics posit that 1 in 1,666 births have some form of hermaphrodism. In ancient times, infant mortality was perhaps as high as 30%. The quantity of people with this trait would likely have been fairly low, especially among all but large cities. Physical deformity was commonplace enough (disease, warfare, etc.), so it stands to reason that even people with intersex traits would have been seen no worse than someone with some other physical defect.

Nothing written in the Bible guarantees everyone the same chances in life, including the chance to marry. Sexual intercourse is ordained by God for all people (Ge 2:24), but only within the confines of marriage. Poor people, people with awful parents, people who contract crippling illnesses, and the like are essentially in the same category with respect to the question of why doesn't everyone have the same chances in life.

Sex and sexuality were never meant to be the defining characteristics of an individual. Modern societies have made it such an issue that people want to define themselves according to their sexual desires, but this is not an important classification in Christianity.

Christians believe that God loves all people, and has placed them in their particular circumstances for his own reasons, none of which include callousness or cruelty. Every human being (except one) has sinned, and are thus fallen, broken creatures in need of a savior. In this sense, we are all equally at a disadvantage, because nobody can save himself.

Consider James 2:5 (NASB): "…did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith…?" Those that we think of as being disadvantaged are not worse in every way. Similarly, those we consider to be extremely privileged do not always have it easy when it comes to important things, like putting their trust in God instead of wealth (e.g. Mt 19:23).

God has called all people, in every situation, to himself, and he commands that we love them all, just like he does. This is the hallmark of Christianity: that "you have love for one another." (Jn 13:35, NASB)

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A few beginning thoughts before I answer:

Wycliffe Bible Commentary on Matthew 19

Some people are incapable of marriage because of their defects; others because of injury or restrictions imposed by men. Still others may forego the privilege of marriage in order to devote themselves more completely to the service of God (e.g., Paul, 1 Cor 7:7, 8, 26, 32-35).

Matthew 19

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Romans 9:20

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”

It's easy to get lost in the specifics because of the world we live in, but God's plan can never be put into the box. The scary part about following Jesus is that it means to give up so much, but He always promises it's worth it. For some it is to give up their riches, for some to give up their children, and still others their sexuality; all to the glory of God.

Matthew 13:44

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

The ultimate goal on earth is not to figure out who we are but to become who we are meant to be in Christ, ultimately being fulfilled once in heaven (with Christ).

To answer your questions: Where do these people fit into normal Christian male/female scenarios? Quite frankly they don't just "fit-in" to any man understood mold. God has called them to a higher standard of faith. Some will see this as curse, others a blessing. But let me remind the reader of Fanny Crosby who became blind as an infant. Yet instead of cursing God for her inabilities she wrote one of the dearest hymns this world has ever seen:

http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Fanny-Crosby.html

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long. Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Now... Do they have room for them? No they don't have room for them because they are more than mold. They are exceptional in the eyes of God, made for His glory, his Kingdom, in His image.

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As with many of these questions, some of the answer is already in the question. You've termed occurrences like this "conditions" - in other words, deviations from the general norm. As with other medical conditions they are a result of The Fall. So the line you quote is correct, God created male and female, very clearly and distinctly.

So, how do people affected by these conditions fit into the "normal Christian scenarios" of male and female? Well firstly there's nothing explicitly Christian about recognising that the norm is to be male or female. Secondly, as we both have already pointed out, these are medical conditions, so I would suggest they warrant expert medical attention. Thirdly my understanding is that in most cases there is a "leaning" towards one gender or the other that can help to establish which gender a person really is.

Finally, your last question, "do they [Christians] have room for them [people with these type of conditions]?" Of course. Anyone and everyone has the potential to become a Christian and should be welcome in Church. There should be a note of caution taken here though. Many people, inside and outside the church, find these issues very confusing and may struggle to react in the way they perhaps should. Some may be overly curious, others may find such a condition distasteful and not want to confront it. Nobody is unwelcome but not everyone will necessarily be able to express that. And that's ok, the church is made up of all kinds of people, not all of whom will see eye to eye all the time.

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+1 I agree that these conditions are a result of The Fall. –  Mike Pone Jan 4 '12 at 19:54

As for hermaphrodites, the Bible isn't clear. it's simply not addressed. My wife and I have discussed this a few times, and my personal answer is "I don't know. But I know they can be saved, just like anyone else. so I'm not going to focus on their sexuality, but rather on whether or not they've accepted Christ. Once saved, they will have their own relationship with God, and their own indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide them. I would have the same response for those who show one sex/gender based on physical attributes, but a different result based on chromosomes.

As for varying of degrees on gender based on whether a person "feels" male or female, the idea of "gender boxes" is a very new concept. I don't buy it. Just thinking something is true or wanting something to be true doesn't make it true.

But again, whether you're on my side of the fence or the other, their sexuality isn't the important thing. Homosexuality may be a sin, but the Bible is clear that no one sin is any more serious than another. (Matthew 5:19, James 2:10) Everyone is damned whether straight, gay, black, white, kind, mean, giving, greedy, because all of us have sinned in one way or another.

EVERYONE is condemned (John 3:18) unless we accept the free gift of salvation, which comes through the Grace of God, by faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. The free gift is available to all of the people in all of the situations you gave. It's simply up to them to accept or reject it.

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Well, except for using Lord's name in vain... –  Sȱɳɨȼ Ʈħe ǶḝÐɠḝħȱɠ Oct 2 '11 at 20:42
    
Not all sins are equal. See the first epistle of St. John where he differentiates sins "unto death" and sins "which are not unto death" –  cwallenpoole May 11 '12 at 18:23
    
cwallenpoole - So... Are you saying that some sins are enough to send you to Hell and others aren't? Because in context, what I was saying is that even one sin, one lie, is enough to fail to reach God's standard for "earning" salvation. One small sin is enough to make us imperfect, and therefore, we fall short and need a Savior. In other words, no matter how serious the sin, it is enough that we are not worthy of heaven. I though that the context of what I was trying to say was clear with "EVERYONE is condemned..." So again, are you stating otherwise? –  David Stratton May 11 '12 at 18:37

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